Duck in Orange Sauce

If you are a fan of duck you are going to love this recipe. Effortlessly quick and simple as with most of my recipes. I add a bit of star anise to the sauce to give it a subtle twist on a classic. I hope you like it.

Serves 2

Ingredients

2 duck breasts – skin on

2 tablespoons olive oil

For the sauce

Zest and juice of 1 large orange

100ml apple juice

1 teaspoon cornflour, teaspoon or so of water to make a paste

1 teaspoon light brown sugar

1 star anise

Method

Pre heat oven to 200c / 180c fan

Start by patting your duck breasts dry and scoring them in a criss cross pattern.

Season them with salt and pepper

Pour your olive oil in a pan and add the duck breasts skin side down. Cook for 5 minutes over a moderate heat. Turn for 1 minute to seal.

Place duck breasts into an oven proof dish and cook skin side up on the middle shelf for 15 mins.

Remove from oven and rest for 10 – 15 mins.

Meanwhile, make the sauce.

Start by adding your apple juice, orange zest, brown sugar and star anise to a small saucepan and bringing to the boil to reduce. Add a teaspoon of water to your cornflour to make a paste and tip it into the pan. Simmer for 5 minutes stirring all the while.

Add the duck to a plate and pour over the sauce. Serve immediately with asparagus and green beans.


Sirloin Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

I’ve been meaning to make chimichurri sauce for ages and I’m glad I did, everyone loved it. Parsley, garlic, chilli, the list goes on…..

If you’re going on a first date the next day, don’t bother though as they will pass out and you will take their eyelashes off if you breathe on them. Just hang around by yourself for a day or so.

I serve it with rice instead of chips as I’m weird and prefer that along with a rocket and parmesan salad.

Serves 2

Ingredients

1 sirloin steak each

Chimichurri

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1/4 cup parsley – finely chopped

1 hot red chilli – chopped small

3 cloves garlic – minced

2 teaspoons oregano

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Method

Simply add all your ingredients to a small bowl and mix. Rub your steaks with olive oil, salt and pepper and cook over a high heat to your liking. Spoon over your chimichurri and serve immediately.


King Prawn Rice Bowl

Fresh, crunchy and full of aromatic flavour. Juicy king prawns, crunchy mange tout and mini corn come together with red peppers and spring onion in this healthy prawn rice bowl. I pack loads of coriander in as I think it compliments this dish no end. The sauce is heavenly and made up of hoisin, soy, coconut milk and lots of fresh lime juice squeezed in. I cook the rice in a mix of water and coconut milk light to give it a gentle coconut taste. Quick, easy, healthy and delicious. Enjoy!

Serves 3

Ingredients

1 cup rice ( cooked in 1 cup water and 3/4 cup coconut milk light

200g king prawns

150g mange tout

130g mini corn

1/2 red pepper – sliced into strips

Tablespoon poppy seeds

Tablespoon toasted sesame oil

Coriander (optional but recommended)

Sauce

2 cloves garlic – minced

Thumb size piece of ginger – grated

Juice of 1 lime

2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

Salt and cracked black pepper to season

3 tablespoons coconut milk light.

Method

Start by cooking your rice in a separate pan. Rinse thoroughly in a sieve and tip in 1 cup of water and 3/4 cup of coconut milk light to give the rice a gentle coconut flavour. Cook low and slow with the lid on until all the liquid has evaporated. I would recommend cooking the rice first as it will be fine to sit and rest for a few extra minutes with the lid on while you cook the prawns and veg.

Start by rinsing your vegetables

Chop your corn into three pieces and your pepper into strips, then chop your spring onion into 1cm pieces.

Mix up your sauce in a small bowl and set aside.

Add your sesame oil to the wok and heat over a moderate heat adding your veg along with a tablespoon of the sauce and stir frying for a few minutes to lightly soften. You don’t want to over cook it as you want it to have a crunch when you bit into it.

Now add your prawns and the rest of the sauce. Stir fry for another couple of minutes so the prawns are warmed through if fresh and cooked through if frozen.

Once the rice is cooked transfer your rice to bowls and top with the prawn and vegetable mix.

Sprinkle over your poppy seeds and fresh coriander if desired.


Teriyaki Beef Stir Fry

As you know, I love a quick and easy dinner. When it’s hot outside I want something simple and healthy. This teriyaki marinade works well with beef, chicken or salmon.

I much prefer to make a stir fry with fresh individual ingredients rather than a bag of standard stir fry mix. It just tastes a lot better and full of crunchy loveliness. The lime adds a fresh zing.

Serves 2

Ingredients

2 sirloin steaks

2 glugs sesame oil

Stir Fry sauce

2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce

1 tablespoon dark soy sauce

2 cloves garlic – minced

Juice of 1/2 a lime

1 teaspoon honey

——–

1 nest of noodles

Salt and cracked black pepper to season

1 cup mange tout

1 cup mini corn – chopped

1/2 red pepper

1 small carrot – thinly sliced

2 cabbage leaves

1/2 tin water chestnuts – drained

Method

Firstly mix up your sauce and set aside.

Add your noodles to a pan of boiling water.

Rub your steaks with a little oil and slice into thin strips about 1cm thick, removing any fat.

Chop all your veg into smallish pieces.

Heat your wok and pan fry your steak over a high heat for a couple of minutes adding a tablespoon of the stir fry sauce.

Add a drizzle more oil and put in your vegetables and pan fry until slightly softened but still crisp to bite. This should take about 5 minutes or so.

Once your noodles are cooked, drain them and add a teaspoon of sesame oil to loosen. Tip them into the mix and then add the stir fry sauce ensuring all the ingredients are fully coated.

Serve immediately.


Sriracha Lamb Koftas

These sriracha lamb koftas are delicious served in lightly toasted pittas packed full of salad and onion, served with lots more sriracha for dipping. Gently spiced with cumin, sriracha and full of garlic and chives. They’re delicious eaten alfresco or on the BBQ. Make them for a delicious change to burgers.

Serves 4

Makes 8 koftas

Ingredients

400g lamb mince

3 tablespoons sriracha

1/2 teaspoon cumin

3 cloves garlic – minced

Salt and cracked black pepper to season

12 chives – snipped small

Glug of olive oil

Extra sriracha for dipping

Pitta and salad with onion to serve.

Method

Add the lamb mince and all your ingredients to a large mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly to combine. I do this wearing disposable gloves!

Form the mince into 8 patties. I do this by dividing the mince into half and making four out of each half of the mince so I get even koftas. If time is on your side pop them in the fridge for an hour or so to firm up. If not pop them straight into a hot pan with a glug or two of olive oil in it.

With a pan slice move the patties about and turn every now and then to cook evenly. You might need to press them down with the pan slice to keep them in a nice shape.

Once they look bronzed and lightly crisp they’re ready to serve.

Lightly toast your pittas and cut in half. Open them with a knife being careful not to let the steam scald you! Now load in your koftas along with all the salad and onion and more sriracha. Enjoy!


Duck Breast with Plum and Red Wine Sauce

A beautiful alternative to a roast dinner that takes under half an hour to put on the table. It really is worth making your own plum and red wine sauce, especially since it’s virtually impossible to find one in the shops. Let the duck rest for five minutes or so before slicing.

We had this with a nice glass of Shiraz. Don’t waste any left over wine if there is any chance of doing so just pour it into an ice cube tray and freeze to use in stocks and sauces at a later date.

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 duck breasts

1 shallot

3 plums, stoned and sliced into thin wedges

50ml red wine

300ml stock

Salt and cracked black pepper to season

1 tablespoon soft brown sugar

Method

Pre heat oven to 200c / 180c

Score your duck in a criss cross pattern.

Pan fry skin side down in a knob of butter heated in the frying pan on a fairly high heat for 5 minutes. Turn and cook for a further minute.

Place on a foil lined baking tray skin side up and cook for 12 minutes in the middle of the oven.

Meanwhile, make the plum and red wine sauce. Start by pan frying your chopped shallot in a glug of hot olive oil until it is softened. Add red wine and stock. Blitz with a stick blender if you want a smooth sauce which is what I prefer. Simmer for 10 minutes or so. Add your brown sugar and stir.

When the duck is ready simply pour the sauce over the duck and serve with creamy mashed potatoes and veg of choice.


Beef Curry

A beautiful beef curry that falls apart upon biting into it. The sauce is a blend of tomatoes and coconut milk. I used low fat coconut milk as an experiment to keep it lower fat and to be honest I couldn’t tell the difference in this curry. Feel free to add a few vegetables. Courgettes and butternut squash would work well. Always with mango chutney though! Tip: Throw a few cardamom pods or a cinnamon stick in with your rice while it is steaming to add flavour.

Serves 4

Ingredients

350g diced beef

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 can of chickpeas

3 cloves garlic – minced

Thumb sized piece of ginger – grated

1 onion – sliced

400ml can of coconut milk – I used light

500g passata

1 tablespoon mango chutney

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 tablespoon hot curry powder

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon salt

200ml water

Method

Pre heat oven to 160c / 140c fan

In a large pan ( one that has a lid) cook your onions low and slow in the hot vegetable oil until softened.

Add your minced garlic and grated ginger, stirring all the while.

Now add your all the spices and the beef. Stir for a minute or two just to brown the meat.

Pour in the passata and coconut milk and stir to fully combine.

Add your chickpeas and mango chutney, salt and water.

Pop on the lid and place in the oven for 2 and a half hours stirring every hour. The meat should be soft and fall apart upon biting into it.

Serve with rice and a tomato and onion salad for extra deliciousness.


Jerk Chicken Breast and Mango Salsa

I’ve made jerk chicken before but always with chicken thighs or wings. Truth be told I think I prefer it that way but this is still delicious and bursting with Caribbean flavour.

The mango salsa gives a bit of welcome relief to the spiciness of the chicken.

Make sure you make the marinade the day before you serve the chicken and marinate overnight in the fridge. This is an absolute must for maximum flavour. If you are bbqing the chicken I recommend making double of the marinade so you have lots to baste the chicken with while it is sizzling away on the bbq.

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 chicken breasts

Marinade

2 limes – juice of

1 onion – diced

5 spring onions – chopped

6-8 sprigs of thyme – remove the stalk so leaves only

3 scotch bonnet chillis – no others as only these will do

Heaped teaspoon of all purpose seasoning

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 cup dark soy sauce

4 tablespoons cider vinegar

3-4 dessert spoons honey

1 dessert spoon grated ginger

4 tablespoons light brown soft sugar

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons olive oil – to pan fry

Method

You must without fail marinade the chicken the night before you cook it or else it won’t be how it should be. Scotch bonnet chillis are also a must for the most authentic flavour.

Put the chicken in a large bowl, score with a knife and squeeze over the juice of 2 limes. Obviously wash your hands after you’ve handled raw chicken and all that.

Roughly chop your onion and spring onions, thyme, chillis, chopped garlic and all the spices and other ingredients for the sauce and blend so it is a bit of a gritty consistency, basically not too smooth. It will smell wonderful.

Now pour this all over the chicken and rub in. I put sandwich bags on my hands and do this. Give it a little massage in to lock in the flavour!

Cover, refrigerate and leave overnight!

If you are going to cook on the hob heat a couple of tablespoons olive oil over a medium to high heat and once hot add your chicken breasts. Continue to pan fry turning every couple of minutes until the chicken is bronzed and crisp. Baste all the while with the marinade, there should be plenty for this.

Alternatively if you are bbqing the chicken simply place on the bbq grill until full cooked through basting and turning all the time.

Serve with my coleslaw and rice and peas recipes under my sides section or with this delicious mango salsa recipe below which you simply mix together and serve alongside the jerk chicken.

Mango Salsa

1 ripe mango

1 small onion diced

Handful coriander – chopped

1/2 red pepper diced


Lemon Chicken Orzo

A beautiful dinner that is full of vibes of mediterranean sunshine. Buttery lemony orzo with chicken and asparagus, added protein with the chickpeas. What’s not to love? If you prefer a veggie option simply leave out the chicken add a little more chickpeas and asparagus. Beautiful with an ice cold glass of white or rosé.

Serves 2

Ingredients

2 chicken breasts – chopped into cubes

160g orzo ( 80g per person)

Vegetable stock

2 cloves garlic – minced

Cup of chickpeas

Juice of a lemon

Salt and cracked black pepper to season

Splash of white wine

2 tablespoons olive oil

Method

Start by boiling a pan of water and a vegetable stock cube. When the water is boiling add your orzo and set a timer. Mine took 6 minutes.

At the same time bring another pan of water to the boil and add your asparagus.

While your orzo is cooking heat a tablespoon of olive oil in your large frying pan. Add your chicken pieces to the pan and pan fry along with your garlic, splash of white wine and the lemon juice.

Now your orzo should be ready. Drain and add a knob of butter, do the same for your asparagus. Transfer both to the the pan of ingredients along with your drained chickpeas.

Season with salt and cracked black pepper.

Serve immediately.


Ragu Bolognese

Oh my! This was hands down one of the most delicious dinners I’ve made in a long time. Slow cooked beef that falls apart and melts in your mouth, coated in a silky rich sauce. It tastes so indulgent and it couldn’t be simpler. You need to slow cook your beef for two and a half hours over a low heat on the hob so this is one for when you are pottering about in the kitchen.

Works beautifully with tagliatelle. Everyone loved it and to my glee I had requests to make it again and again.

Serves 4

Ingredients

350g braising steak pieces

1 medium onion

1 celery stick

1 carrot

500g passata

1 cup red wine

1 litre beef stock – I used a stock cube and 2 tablespoons of Bovril

Tablespoon olive oil

Salt and cracked black pepper to season

Method

Start by chopping your onion, carrot and celery into small pieces.

Heat up your olive oil in a large pan or cooking pot and add your chopped onion, carrot and celery for 10 minutes or so stirring all the time. This is called a soffritto and it will give your sauce the most amazing aromatic flavour. You want to sauté them until the onion is soft and translucent and the vegetables are soft and caramelised but do not burn them.

Add the beaf steak to brown for a couple of minutes stirring all the time.

Now add your wine and turn up the heat a little to reduce.

Pour in the passata, stock and season with salt and cracked black pepper.

Now simply leave to gently cook away over a low heat, checking every 20 minutes or so with a stir here and there.

10 minutes before cooking time is up bring a large pan of salty water to the boil and add your tagliatelle for as long as the instructions advise. Usually around 10 minutes for al dente. This will ensure the pasta is ready once the cooking time is up. Drain the pasta in a colander and add back to the saucepan swirling in a knob of butter.

Once the cooking time is up the sauce will be thick and deliciously rich in flavour. The meat should fall apart. Don’t be afraid to gently break the meat up a little more with the wooden spoon and stir into the sauce. Toss the pasta in immediately.

Tip: I like mine with chopped basil on top and freshly grated parmesan. Serve with a delicious garlic ciabatta and a glass of red.